Sunday, March 20, 2011

Thinking About G-Mom

Mrs. Hanson, Kimberly Anne, and G-Mom

I have been thinking about my G-Mom. When Aaron was growing up, "great grandmother" was too daunting to learn, so my grandmother, my Grammie, became G-Mom. I am missing her, pretty darn much. As I want through my pictures I found a random sampling to share. Over the next few days I will share some more, as the stories come back to me.

G-mom, me, and Mr. Hanson - in Atlantic City!

Virginia Pearl Smith Costabile was born on March 18, 1916, and grew up during very difficult times in Eastern PA. She was a Catholic and loved the church, although after many years of being with us she became a Lutheran. She had an eighth grade education, and worked hard all her life, taking care of her own family and her husbands parents until they passed away. She cooked and cleaned and always provided incredible meals. She learned to be frugal, kept her home organized and neat, and took great pride in what she was able to provide for her family. And she LOVED to cook. Plus, she was incredibly good at it, mostly. There was always the occasional disaster in the kitchen, but she really was a good, good cook.

Ruth Hanson (Grandma), me, and G-Mom

At one point in time she worked as a cook in an Italian restaurant - "Rizzo's Italian Family Restaurant." Rizzo's is still going strong, although the location has changed and they are now called "Rizzo's Malabar Inn" - and of course, it can't be as good as it was when G-Mom was cooking there. Her tomato sauces were always amazing, and she loved using fresh herbs and finding new ways to make old favorites. I still make her potato soup with "rivels" (homemade noodles) which my grandchildren love, and her gnocchi, which we all love.

Ah, what a crew!
Me, J.D, June, Brenda, Karla, Jay, Gregg, G-Mom, Uncle Mike!
I guess Aunt Nancy is snapping the picture!

She was always a major part of every holiday celebration, making turkey on thanksgiving and roasts on New Years. Of course, we all love our family holidays, so we took full advantage of the great cooking to add to the celebrations!

G-Mom at Christmas

Like many of the folks of her generation, G-Mom was a chain smoker. When her brother in law got lung cancer the doctor told her she had to quit smoking immediately. She did it that very day. She continued to love her gin and tonics for many more years, but didn't have quite as many quite as often.

In the mountains - Mr. Bryant, Uncle Mike, me, Aunt Nancy, Ama, G-Mom

G-Mom lived with Uncle Mike and Aunt Nancy in Florida for a long time after she retired, until the inevitable closeness put a strain on family relationships. Then she came and lived with mom and dad and was with us for the rest of her life. She still worked hard, doing the laundry, cleaning, cooking, taking us shopping to buy something special - generally being a wonderful love in our lives. I think she felt her own worth was all about taking care of us, and she put her heart into it.

Karla Anne and G-Mom

She also loved to play hard! When she was younger she enjoyed bowling, and always loved playing cards - canasta was a favorite. She liked to sit out in the summer and have a drink with friends and family, and loved baseball. She took me to my first baseball game in Pittsburg - and I still love the Pirates! She was a big Steelers fan, and so guess what, I am too. She was always willing to try something new and fun, and being with us all really made her joyful.

G-Mom and Uncle Mike

She had a generous heart and had a generous laugh. She didn't have much money but was always amazingly generous, giving gifts to every single one of us. She loved to share with us. Now, she did get mad and sometimes had a short temper. She would make sharp comments and her tone of voice made it clear that she was not amused. But all in all her love came through in every single moment. She adored her grandchildren (that's me, Karla, and Jay - and Michael, Gregg, and Brenda), her great-grandchildren (ADR, ARR, Kyle, Angela, Trevor, Nick, Mike), and her great great grandson Asa. I am sad that she never got to meet Jaya, but I know she would have adored her.

Here she is with that young Mr. Michael Baughman one Christmas morning. Ah, dearest G-Mom, we miss you much and think of you often.

Our G-Mom


Anonymous said...

Lucky you to have so many memories of your G-Mom. I hardly ever saw either of my grandmothers when I was younger. I miss my Aunt Marge, born in August 1916...same age as your G-Mom, Dianne

Maggie said...

Oh, so very lovely a tribute to one heck of a loving woman. Thank you so much for posting this. Now my grandma is forefront in my mind. :)

Kathy O said...

I was just thinking about my G-Mom and Googled "G-mom" to see if anyone else used the term or if we were just silly. I'm really glad I came across your blog, as I really liked reading about your G-mom. Your post made me a little sad, but it also made me smile. I think our G-moms would have been good buddies :)


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